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Plant a patch of cooling, refreshing fragrance by adding mint to your garden. Undemanding and easy to grow, mint boasts a hearty constitution, often growing where other plants fail. Fragrance varies with variety, as does taste. Use mint fresh or dried to season a range of culinary creations including soups, beverages, vegetables, meats, and desserts.
Mint quickly scrambles to cover garden real estate; tuck mint where you don't mind its wandering ways, or corral its rambles by planting it in a raised bed or a pot sunk into soil. Plants readily cross-pollinate; keep your patch pure by planting mixed varieties as far apart as possible. This herb releases scent when you crush or bruise leaves. Place it near garden paths or benches so you can savor the fragrance frequently. All mint varieties thrive in containers.
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Part Sun, Sun
From 1 to 8 feet
1-4 feet wide
How to Grow Mint
For the most intense flavor, clip topmost mint leaves before flowers form. You can also gather leaves at any point during the growing season. Frequent harvests cause plants to branch and become bushy, so cut growing tips of plants often. Give a boost to steamed vegetables, such as peas, carrots, white or black beans, or eggplant, by adding fresh chopped mint leaves just before serving. Mix fresh leaves from mint and basil to weave a cooling flavor into spicy Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Dry mint leaves and flowers by bundling stems and hanging them upside down in a dark place. When leaves are dry, crumble from stems and store in airtight containers. To preserve mint leaves with bright green color, freeze them in plastic storage bags. Capture the refreshing taste of garden-fresh mint for use in beverages and baked goods by creating a syrup. Boil 2 cups of water and 2 cups of white sugar in a pot until sugar dissolves. Add 2 cups of washed mint leaves; stir and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the mixture to cool; strain syrup and pour it into a glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Store syrup in the refrigerator up to one year.